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The store of the future?

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The slides and statistics were flying fast and furious at the Home Improvement Research Institute’s Fall Conference in Chicago last month.

That’s the way the HIRI members like it. Amid the myriad graphs and charts showing “changing economic realities” and “consumer sentiment and home improvement activity,” there was one slide—from Kantar Retail VP Steve Spiwak—that struck HCN as particularly noteworthy. It’s titled “Home Improvement Store of the Future.”

Spiwak lays out this mythical store based on three principals:

1) Make it easy to shop: This involves bringing product to eye level, improving sightlines across the store, clearly designated product and price hierarchies.

2) Make way for emerging product categories: These include but are not limited to pet supplies, green products, a move toward consumables and even prefab housing kits and RV-related segments.

3) Create innovation centers: We’ve seen this at the big boxes—energy centers, connected or smart home center areas. But there’s also opportunity in retrofitting centers for seniors and sustainable gardening centers for gardeners.

In other words, it’s kind of a combination of the modern warehouse home center mixed with Marvin’s Home Centers, Cole’s Home Solutions, Tractor Supply Co. and the Apple store. It should be interesting to watch.

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Tillman appointed to lighting company board

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Cree Inc., the Durham, N.C.-based manufacturer of LED lighting products, has elected Robert Tillman to its board of directors. Tillman, 67, is the former president and CEO of Lowe’s. After his retirement from Lowe’s in 2005, he became a member of the board of directors of the Bank of America Corp. until 2009.

Tillman will serve on the compensation committee of Cree’s board of directors, the announcement said.

Cree is a publicly traded company with annual revenues of $867 million. Its products include LED fixtures and bulbs for both the retail and commercial markets and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications.

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Quarterly sales slip 3.2% at Huttig

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Huttig Building Products, the St. Louis-based distributor, reported net sales of $127.2 million for its last fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30, a 3.2% decline from sales of $131.4 million in the same period of 2009.

Sales declined in building products but increased in all other product categories in 2010 from 2009, the company reported in an SEC filing. Millwork sales increased approximately 6% in 2010 to $58.4 million. Building product sales decreased approximately 15% in 2010 to $54.9 million. Wood products sales increased approximately 15% to $13.9 million in 2010.

The company posted a net loss of $4.5 million for the three-month period, compared with $1.1 million for the same period a year ago.

On Sept. 30, Huttig amended and restated its existing credit agreement with a four-year, $120 million, asset-based senior secured revolving credit facility, according to the filing.

Huttig is a two-step distributor of lumber, panels, decking, windows, doors, fasteners and other building materials. The company serves 41 states through 27 distribution centers. 

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